P&O Cruises has cancelled sailings on Arcadia, Aurora, Azura and Ventura until the end of August and on Britannia and Iona until the end of September – and replaced them with a series of short-break and week-long UK cruises as ‘the ultimate escape’ staycation this summer.
The new cruises, sailing from Southampton, will go on sale later in March.
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: ‘Following recent Government announcements, and as the vaccine programme is rolled out across the globe, we can all begin to feel a sense of reassurance and hope that this current lockdown period in the UK will come to an end.
‘Life can, we hope, slowly return to some semblance of our previous normality as hospitality opens up and summer holidays can be booked with confidence.
‘Whilst holidays here in the UK will be the first to become a reality we will, of course, gradually see the return of international travel but first we want guests to be able to enjoy a proper summer holiday at sea with the best in relaxation, entertainment and dining choice.
‘These sailings will leave from our home port in Southampton and sail around UK coastal waters enjoying the summer sunshine. More details of dates, prices and the experience on board will be announced later this month, but they will, of course, all have flexibility so guests can book with confidence.
‘We hope that the UK “ultimate escape” staycation option will have wide appeal and we will do our utmost to make it a very special time. There really will be something for everyone and the opportunity to spend precious and much-longed for time with family and friends.
‘In order to offer these UK breaks it does mean that unfortunately we need to cancel some of our current published programme of holidays this summer. Cruises on Arcadia, Aurora, Azura and Ventura have been cancelled until the end of August and on Britannia and Iona until the end of September.
‘We remain in very close contact with the UK Government and associated bodies as we monitor the latest situation and guidance on travel. From the moment we see travel restrictions lifting we will begin the significant logistical task to re-start our operations.
‘It will take some time for the first ship to return to service, followed by the phased return of the remaining fleet. We cannot wait to welcome everyone back on board with the protection of effective protocols to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all crew and guests.
‘I really am so sorry for the disappointment these cancellations will cause but hope that the new UK cruises will enable everyone to enjoy a wonderful holiday this summer.’
All guests whose cruises have been cancelled will automatically receive a Future Cruise Credit worth 125% of what they paid. This 125% Future Cruise Credit can be redeemed against any new booking made by the end of December 2021, on any cruise on sale at the time of booking.